This comprehensive guide to house foundations delves into the crucial role they play in the stability of your home, and how the regulations governing them have evolved over time. At Warton Woodworks, we’ve had the privilege of installing numerous foundations for house extensions in Essex, UK, accumulating a wealth of experience in this field. House foundations serve as the cornerstone, providing a solid and stable base for any structure. In fact, they are typically the starting point in the construction of a house. These foundations are expertly designed to evenly distribute the weight of your home, ensuring structural integrity. Any issues with the foundations can lead to uneven settlement, potentially resulting in serious problems like subsidence. Whether you’re looking to understand the type of foundation you currently have or planning an extension, this guide to house foundations is your key to making informed decisions and safeguarding your property’s long-term stability.
The Most Important Stage!
Building foundations for homes is the most critical part of any new house build. Mistakes at this stage is very unforgiving, and could lead to costly repairs. To avoid such mistakes, foundation measurements should be double checked all the time. Blueprints should be fool proof and accurate. Communication on site is also vital, ensuring everyone is reading from the same plans.
Types of Foundations
There are four main types of house foundation. The one that is chosen depends upon the soil type in the region where the new build will go.
Deep Strip Foundations
- Least expensive.
- Used where ground conditions are considered ideal.
- Trench depth is typically 1m. If you need to dig more than 2.5m, then this technique is not practicable due to the amount of concrete and risks involved. Piling would be the better option in this case.
- Trench width is typically 600mm.
- Concrete minimum depth is typically 225mm.
Wide Strip Foundations
- Used where ground conditions are not ideal, such as the soil being soft
- Are used to distribute the load over a larger area.
- These foundations are reinforced with steel to help reduce the loading per m square.
Trench Fill Foundations
- Used where ground conditions are not ideal, such as the soil being too loose or water logged.
- Ideal for chalk and clay soils.
- The trench sides need to be firm, therefore the ground type must support this.
- Avoids the need to brick lay below ground.
- Trenches are filled with ready mix concrete, approximately 150mm within ground level.
- Mesh can be used to help reinforce the foundations.
- More expensive than deep strip foundations.
- Used where ground conditions are stable, but have the potential to become unstable due to disturbance deep down, such as mining.
- This foundation is actually a raft of concrete.
- Spreads the load much better than other types of foundation, reducing pressure on the ground.
- Normally used when trench or strip foundations cannot be used.
- These types of foundation are usually designed by a structural engineer.